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THE APOSTLES’ CREED11Notwithstanding the earlier labours of Laurentius Valla and Erasmus, the writer who may be described as the pioneer in the branch of investigation which deals with the origin of the creeds in the ancient Church is Usher, De Romanae ecclesiae symbolo apostolico vetere aliisque fidei formulis tum ab occidentalibus tum ab orientalibus in prima catechesei et baptismo proponi solitis Diatriba, 1647. Next come the names of Vossius, Pearson, Witsius, King, and Bingham. Walch collected the “Rules of Faith and the Symbols” in his Biblioth. Symbol. vetus, in 1770. His work was superseded in 1842 by Hahn’ s Bibliothek. During the last forty-three years a fresh interest has been given to this field of labour by Heurtley’ s Harmonia Symbolica (1858). More particularly since the year 1866, Caspari, a second Usher, has, by his various works, enormously increased the material for a study of this subject, and he has also sifted the material with the most critical care, Ungedruckte, unbeachtete und wenig beachtete Quellen zur Geschichte des Taufsymbols and der Glaubensregeln, 3 Bde., 1866-69-75; Alte und neue Quellen zur Geschichte des Taufsymbols and der Glaubensregeln, 1879. His labours enabled Hahn’ s son to make a new work of his father’ s Bibliothek in 1877. Among German scholars, von Zerschwitz, System der Katechetik, 2 Bde., 2te Auf. 1872, the present writer in the second edition of the Realencyclopädie and in the first volume of his Dogmengeschichte, Zahn, Das apostolische Symbolum, and above all, Kattenbusch, have taken a share in these investigations. In 1894 the last-named writer issued the first volume of a great monograph upon the Creed, which justifies the eagerness with which its continuation is awaited. Among English scholars may be mentioned Harvey, The History and Theology of the Three Creeds, 1854; Foulke, The Athanasian Creed . . . with other Inquiries on Creeds in General, 1872; Lumby, The History of the Creed, 1873; Hort, Two Dissertations, 1876; and, above all, Swainson, The Nicene and Apostles’ Creed, London, 1875. The relation of the old Roman symbol to the Formulas of Faith in the pre-Catholic period has been treated by the present writer in his Patr. App. Opp. ii. edit. 1, 2, 1878 (cf. A. Harnack, Das apostol. Glaubensbekenntniss, 26te Auf. 1893). Reference should also be made to the text-books on the History of Dogma. In the controversies periodically occurring over the Apostles’ Creed a great number of brochures regularly appear which need not be enumerated here.

The first to place the three creeds, the Apostolic, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan, and the Athanasian, side by side, as a full 2expression of the ecumenical confessions in the Church (with the addition of the Te Deum Laudamus) was probably Luther. Certain it is that it was only after his time, 3that is, after the second half of the sixteenth century, that Protestants first spoke definitely of the three ancient symbols. Yet it is also certain on the other hand that in the West these very three symbols had been in use in the churches, and had enjoyed great consideration, at least as much as five centuries earlier.22Köllner, Symbolik, i. ed. 1837, p. 5. In the strict sense of the word, however, the predicate “ecumenical” applies only to the 4Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, for in the Eastern Church neither the Apostolic nor the Athanasian confession of faith has at any time received official recognition.33Gass, Symbolik d. griech. Kirche, 1872, pp. 116 ff.; Kattenbusch, Das apost. Symbol. Bd. i. S. 1, 1894. Indeed, the Eastern Church has at no time traced any creed to an Apostolic origin, or designated any as Apostolic in the strict sense of the word.44Cf. the testimony of Archbishop Marcus Eugenicus at the Council of Florence, in 1438, as given by Sylvester Sguropolis, Hist. Concil. Florent. sect. vi. c. 6, p. 150, edit. Rob. Creyghton, 1660: ἡμεῖς οὔτε ἔχομεν, οὔτε οἴδαμεν σύμβολον τῶν ἀποστόλων. Vide Caspari, Ungedruckte . . . Quellen z. Gesch. des Taufsymbols, ii. 1869, S. 106 ff. In the West, on the other hand, the three symbols form part of the confessional writings of the main Church, and the shortest of them (Symbolum minus) bears the very name “Apostolicum.” But we also find the 5name “Apostolic” here and there established and in use in the West as a designation of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed;55Caspari, ibid. i. 1866, S. 242, n. 45; ii. 1869, S. 115, n. 88; iii. 1875, S. 12, n. 22. nor is this only among Greeks who had become latinised. The three chief churches of the West possess the Symbolum Apostolicum in a form which agrees in all essential points (“Textus Receptus”). We shall therefore have to begin by treating of the origin of the creed in this form.


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